Saturday, July 16, 2011

Article Response: Hogweed: Plant that can cause blindness is spreading across N.Y.

Article Link Hogweed: Plant that can cause blindness is spreading across N.Y. | MNN - Mother Nature Network

Response Basically this article is about a poisonous plant or weed that has causes severe health issues when touched. It causes bad skin irritation, burns, and possibly blindness if the sap comes in contact with your eyes. This weed is called Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum). This type of Hogweed isn't common like the Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) plants you may see in a field or your backyard. It is much larger in height and thickness. These plants can grow up to several feet tall. The article states according to a hogweed fact sheet published by Ohio State University, that "If it gets in your eyes, you can go blind. Furocoumarins in the sap can cause a skin reaction known as phyto-photodermatitis. This causes the skin to be highly sensitive to ultraviolet light."

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)


Photo: Arthur Chapman/Flickr

I believe that this article is true. Being that they are finding this weed in New York state, there's a possibility it can also migrate here to New Jersey. Due to seed dispersal, seeds can travel for mile from different factors. The plant was originally from the areas near the Black and Caspian Seas, which is in the Middle East. There's no telling how these plants arrived here in the United States.

Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium)


Photo: Rasbak

All I know is that always I treat all plants and weeds with caution, especially in your garden or yard. I use gloves when pulling out weeds or old leaves. I don't touch my skin or face. Then dispose them in the proper places to prevent anyone else from encountering them. I still wash my hands thoroughly even if I wear gloves. When you are somewhere without any gloves to protect your hands, stray away from touching any strange plants.

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